Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CRITICAL CARE --A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between
By Theresa Brown

OVERVIEW: The best overview I can give of this book is to post the following positive words of Pauline Chen, author of Final Exam: "Among all the recent books on medicine, Critical Care stands alone. It is a beautifully written account of a nurse's first year on the wards, a medical memoir that combines lyricism and compassion with searing honesty and well-timed laugh-out-loud wit. What Theresa Brown has managed to do with her book is precisely what the best of nurses do with their patients--focus always on the heart of what matters. I loved this book."

MY REVIEW: Theresa Brown gave up being an English professor who taught writing at Tufts University to become a nurse. That impressed me and at the same time made me wonder why. Reading the book, it didn't take long for my questions to be answered. Theresa cares about people and wants what she does in life to matter. She said, "It's a simple enough idea: love what you do, even when you hate it. I never felt that way about being an English professor or even a teacher. I like teaching, and at times I found it enjoyable enough, but I never felt passionately about it, for better or for worse."

Critical Care  is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I received this book from HarperStudio as a gift. I am not required to write a review. I am writing this review because I want those coming to my blog to know about it. We all need to be interested in death, life, and everything in between. Theresa Brown faces all of that as a nurse and writes about it in this splendid book. Critical Care is filled with tough "stuff" but there is much humor also. One of my favorite chapters is "Doctors Don't Do Poop." I can not quote from it for two reasons: (1) My copy is an advance reader's edition and (2) I don't want to post the "get down and get dirty" language she has to use to make it real.


Heart2Heart said...


Sounds like a great book considering that so many people are facing this issue in their own healthcare. I am sure it's nice to know that there are so many people within the health care system that still care.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Mevely317 said...

Oh, I'm going to look for this one! Our daughter-in-law ( is an new RN - now working Neuro ICU.
I don't know HOW she does it; rather, thank God, she and others have the moxie to do so!

Theresa Brown said...

Thank you so much for this incredibly gracious review of my book, Critical Care. Many people have told me they like the "poop chapter"--how it starts with poop and ends with getting a patient a Bible. You're right, though--it's hard to quote politely!

Robin said...

What stood out in this review for me was that Theresa cared about people and wanted what she did to matter, and to love what you do even if you hate it...simple but it works and is truth.